I have more information about the killing 10 June 1864 of Captain George L. Herring of Company E, 3rd Cavalry MSM. Actually, I have more information about who DIDN'T kill Captain Herring. I am writing the 1864 account of guerrilla warfare in Missouri, and have drawn some conclusions based on what was happening in the Phelps County area and surrounding region during May and June 1864.
I have all but eliminated Confederate Colonels William O. Coleman and Thomas R. Freeman and their men from consideration in this June 10 skirmish near Ratterman and Dillon, northeast Phelps County, along the Missouri Central Railroad line. As David E. Casto informed you in his 30 August 2006 reply, Colonel Freeman was operating out of Batesville, Arkansas during May and June 1864 as ordered by Brigadier General Jo Shelby to recruit among those Arkansans to bring his regiment up to strength. I just read in James E. McGhee's brand new "Guide to Missouri Confederate Units, 1861-1865" by the Univ. of Arkansas Press on page 168 that Colonel William O. Coleman was dismissed from regular Confederate service months before the killing of Captain Herring. Coleman's little regiment was down to only five companies and he defied Major General Thomas C. Hindman's order to either turn his five companies over to some other unit or recruit more southerners to bring his regiment up to acceptable strength standards. Colonel Coleman did not comply and he was fired. Now, many men who formerly served under both Colonels Freeman and Coleman were operating as independent guerrillas about their home areas in Phelps, Texas, Shannon, and other nearby counties during the period of the 10 June 1864 skirmish. However, I have not detected that any of those men operated near the scene of this skirmish in the northeast corner of Phelps County.
So, who does that leave who could have been the about 25 Confederates dressed in Federal uniforms that were there on June 10? Earlier in the spring of 1864 Union reverses in Arkansas compelled Union command to withdraw their garrisons at Jacksonport and other places in northeast Arkansas. This enabled several groups of from 12 to 25 guerrillas to make their way through the loose Union cordon of cavalry outposts in southeast Missouri back to their normal summer operating area in northeast Missouri instead of taking the customary longer route through the prairies of southwest Missouri. The "Official Records" documents the passing of these fast-riding groups and mentions that a number of these men wore captured Federal uniforms to facilitate their passage through unfamiliar areas. These bunches of veteran bushwhackers had to stop from time to time and spend a few days stealing new horses when theirs gave out. This took place in several counties south of the Missouri River that seldom saw guerrillas because of the large populations of northern sympathy. Some small groups of unwary Union soldiers met their doom in this area when they encountered these blue-clad guerrillas. I now strongly believe that Captain Herring ran afoul of one of these groups making their way north to northeast Missouri. This particular group of 25 either was very good at not drawing attention to itself as it traveled or stopped in the Dillon area for a few days to steal more horses. I really don't know for sure.
This is my best educated guess as to who shot down Captain Herring.
What are your questions?